Stachys officinalis 'Pink Cotton Candy'
Common Name: betony
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Lamiaceae
Zone: 4 to 8
Height: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Cotton candy pink
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Tolerate: Deer, Black Walnut

Culture

Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Appreciates some light afternoon shade in hot, humid climates. Soils should be kept evenly moist, but established plants have some drought tolerance. Spreads by creeping stems (stolons) that root as they go along the ground. Plant 12-18” apart for use as a ground cover.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Stachys officinalis is native to Europe and Asia. It is a glabrous to densely-hairy perennial that is noted for its late spring floral display. Wrinkled, scallop-edged, ovate to oblong, petiolate, dark green leaves (to 5” long) form a basal clump to 9-12” tall. Upright flowering stems rise to 12” above the foliage clump in late spring to early summer, each stem topped by a spike of reddish-purple (less frequently pink or white), two-lipped, tubular flowers. Clumps will spread over time to form a dense ground cover. Although some species of Stachys are grown primarily for their gray woolly leaves (e.g., Stachys byzantina or lamb’s ears), this species is grown primarily for its vivid flowers which can provide a spectacular display, particularly when massed. Moreover, when plants are in flower, they somewhat more closely resemble some of the salvias than the fuzzy-leaved lamb’s ears.

Synonymous with Stachys betonica and Betonica officinalis.

Genus name comes from the Greek stacys meaning ear of corn in probable reference to the inflorescence of a related plant.

Specific epithet means sold in shops, which was applied to plants with real or supposed medicinal properties.

'Pink Cotton Candy' was bred by Richard Hawke from an open pollinated betony seedling and introduced by the Chicago Botanic Garden in 2009. Its upright flowering stems have dense whorls of cotton candy pink two-lipped flowers in which the upper lip is lighter pink than the lower lip. The flowers fade to a lighter pink creating an additional two-tone appearance. ‘Pink Cotton Candy’ blooms freely from June to August, occasionally blooming again in fall. It grows 1.5 to 2 ft. in both height and spread. U.S. Plant Patent #21436 issued on November 2, 2010.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Snails and slugs are occasional visitors.

Garden Uses

Borders, cottage gardens, informal naturalized areas. Interesting edging plant.